War of words erupts over Tweed Valley Hospital
A WAR of words has erupted between Tweed MP Geoff Provest and State Labor over the completion date of the new $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital.
Today, Mr Provest slammed State Opposition leader Michael Daley after he claimed the Tweed Valley Hospital would open two years later than scheduled.
In a recent media release, Mr Daley said North Coast patients would "not get their upgrade at Tweed Hospital until 2025", despite current plans for the hospital to be completed by 2022 and fully functional by 2023.
Mr Daley claimed the State Government's new $730 million stadium in Sydney would be up and running in 2023, before hospitals in Nepean, Campbelltown, Tweed, Randwick, Westmead and Liverpool.
"The Premier is putting the building of a private palace paid for by the taxpayer ahead of building hospitals," Mr Daley said.
"It beggars belief that she can put her stadiums before people's health."
But Mr Daley did not state why the hospital would be delayed by two years and also claimed only "$10 million" had been allocated to the hospital in the last financial budget, despite budget papers showing more than $50 million had been allocated towards the "Tweed Hospital and Integrated Ambulatory Services Redevelopment" for the 2018/19 financial year.
Mr Provest said State Labor's plans to move the Tweed Valley Hospital to Kings Forest would delay the project and "blow the budget by millions".
"NSW Labor have a clear plan to scrap the existing works underway on the new Tweed Valley Hospital," he said.
"Not only will Labor's plan delay the project by years, it will blow the budget by millions upon millions of dollars and result in fewer medical services provided to the Tweed community, putting local lives at risk."
The accusations come after State Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot called out Mr Provest on Sunday, urging him to engage in a debate on the controversial topic of the Cudgen hospital site.
But Mr Provest has since hit back, stating "a debate between myself and the Labor candidate would achieve nothing".
"There have already been two public forums held with one being attended by the Minister for Health," Mr Provest said.
"The time for talk is over, it's now time to deliver."
Today, Mr Elliot fired back again, claiming NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord would direct Health Infrastructure to immediately begin work on building the new Tweed Valley hospital at Kings Forest on "day one of a new State Labor Government."
"The State election will be a referendum on the hospital location and with pre-polling voting starting in around 60 days the choice is clear - only a Labor State Government can protect the farmland at Cudgen, save Kingscliff from Gold Coast style over-development, and deliver the best health and hospital outcomes for all Tweed residents on time and on budget," Mr Elliot said.
But Mr Provest again struck back, claiming the March election is "not a referendum on where the hospital is built", but "a referendum on if the hospital gets built at all".
"Together we fought to secure a new hospital for the Tweed, and should Labor be elected, that achievement would be ripped away from the community," he said.
"The Labor Party think they have the community fooled. Not only will these delays cost over $100 million, they will also cost lives, and all just to appease their developer mates."